A hard-fought match was topped off by a late goal from Bizzy Phillips as No. 5 BYU women’s soccer defeated Utah State, 1-0, on Thursday night at South Field.
“We talked about at halftime that we just have to believe it’s going to go in,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We were really pleased with the first half. I thought it was a real dominant performance. Our attack was great, but we just couldn’t find a ball on frame. We have fighters on this team who believe in themselves and we got the job done.”
The Cougars finally did put a ball on frame in the 87th minute on a Phillips free kick from about 45 yards away. Utah State had seven fouls and one yellow card in the second half alone, and penalties proved costly. Phillips fired a quality ball on net that looked to be intended for Ashley Hatch as it left her foot. Instead, the ball missed everyone, bounced once at the goal line and ended up in the Aggies’ net for the game winner.
With the win, BYU (5-1-0) extended its South Field win streak to 10 games dating back to last year. Utah State (3-3-1) is now winless in its past three matches.
BYU took it to the Aggies in the first half as the Cougars controlled the pace and maintained possession for most of the half. They had plenty of scoring chances, as evidenced by the 23-7 shot advantage at the half, but none found the net.
BYU’s best first half scoring chance came in the 21st minute when Michele Murphy Vasconcelos made a great cross to Ashley Hatch at the top of the 6-yard box. Hatch made solid contact on a header, but the ball squirted just left of the target.
The second half was very similar to the first, with BYU dominating play. Hatch continued her frustrating night in the 77th minute when she retrieved a deflected shot by Paige Hunt in the box, took a few dribbles closer to goal and ripped a seeing eye shot that barely missed the top right corner. It looked like the match would go to overtime before Phillips’ first goal of the year in the 87th minute.
“We actually just practiced some long, driven balls yesterday, so it’s kind of ironic [we won that way] since it was one of our focuses yesterday,” Rockwood said. “In that situation, you just want to put it on frame and make it dangerous, and we were fortunate it bounced our way on that free kick.”
Rachel Boaz recorded her fifth shutout in six matches, making three saves. BYU outshot Utah State, 35-8, including eight shots on goal compared to just three for the Aggies. The Cougars also won the corner kick battle, 3-0.
Hatch led the Cougars with 14 shots, the second most in a game for BYU all-time behind her 15 shots at Saint Mary's last season. Phillips attempted four shots, while Nadia Gomes and Vasconcelos each took three.
BYU is back at South Field on Saturday at 6 p.m. MDT, as it takes on UNLV. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM.
Blake Dorton is a student at BYU studying broadcast journalism and French. Blake hopes to pursue a career in sports broadcasting following his graduation. You can follow Blake on Twitter @BlakeDorton.